TheraSphere prolongs life for liver cancer patients who cannot undergo liver surgery (resection), and for whom standard chemotherapy is not appropriate, or has not been effective. Froedtert & MCW participation in a clinical trial helped lead to its FDA approval as a treatment for primary liver cancer.

TheraSphere uses brachytherapy (high-dose radiation) to deliver precise radiation directly to the tumor with minimal effect to healthy surrounding tissue. The system allows the delivery of a much higher dose of radiation in a single treatment than with external beam radiation.

In what is typically an outpatient procedure, a catheter is placed into the femoral artery via a small puncture through through the skin. Using X-ray guidance, the catheter is advanced to the hepatic artery, one of the liver’s main blood vessels. Microscopic radioactive beads are infused through the catheter into the blood that supplies the tumor. The beads, which measure one third the diameter of a human hair, contain a radioactive element called Yttrium-90. The blood carries the beads directly into the tumor, with minimal injury to surrounding tissue. Once in place, the Yttrium-90 emits very high doses of radiation “from the inside out” to destroy cancers cells.

Side effects are normally milder than with many other liver cancer treatments.

Because Yttrium-90 radiation poses little danger to others, you do not have to remain in the hospital under any kind of isolation. This allows them to interact with family and friends soon after the procedure.

Virtual Visits Are Available

Safe and convenient virtual visits by video let you get the care you need via a mobile device, tablet or computer wherever you are. We’ll gather your medical records for you and get our experts’ input so we can offer treatment options without an in-person visit. To schedule a virtual visit, call 1-866-680-0505.

Recognized as High Performing by U.S. News & World Report

Froedtert Hospital is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as high performing in three adult specialties and 16 procedures and conditions, including cancer and gastroenterology and GI surgery.